Abuse in a relationship is about power and control, no matter what the age is of the victim or the abuser. Most abusers grew up in a home where they experienced and/or witnessed abuse. Most abusers exhibit abusive behaviors as early as adolescence or teen years, so teens and parents of teens need to be aware. Teen dating violence is domestic violence that occurs when one person in an intimate relationship – involving at least one teenager – exercises power and control over the other through a pattern of intentional behaviors, including psychological, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
While most people are able to recognize an abusive relationship when it involves physical violence, relationships involving psychological or emotional abuse are more subtle, but no less destructive. If allowed to continue, these behaviors can escalate to include more physically dangerous abuse over time. Dating violence – like all abuse – is not a one time occurrence. Typically increasing in frequency and severity over time, domestic violence includes many different types of manipulative and coercive behaviors as tools to gain and maintain control.
The progression of violence is outlined below and includes repeated use of one or more of the following behaviors:
No “typical” victim of teen dating violence exists. This crime can affect anyone from any socioeconomic, demographic, geographic or educational background. The greatest risk factor for victimization is simply being a woman.
Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications for victims. Many will continue to be abused in their adult relationships and are at a higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and suicide.
Think it can’t happen to you?
Here are some scary statistics from various studies to consider:
No one abuser exhibits all forms of controlling behaviors, but look out for any of the following:
Is your partner threatening you verbally, psychologically, physically or sexually? Is he/she controlling, threatening or violent?
If you answered “Yes” to that question or aren’t sure, please take a look at the questions below.
Do these questions describe your partner’s actions?
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Because abuse is about power and control, leaving a violent relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim because the abuser knows he is losing control over you. So if you are thinking of breaking up with an abusive partner, make a safety plan. Schuylkill Women in Crisis (SWiC) advocates can help you – and your family – make a plan that maximizes everyone’s safety. Call SWiC’s 24-hour hotline at 570.622.6220 or 800.282.0634.
Here are some things to consider:
If/when you realize you are in an abusive relationship, you need to get help. SWiC’s hotline is available 24 hours/day, and callers can remain anonymous (570.622.6220 or 800.282.0634). Callers can also call the hotline if they would like to help a friend or loved one who they either know or suspect is being abused.
Leaving an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time for the victim, and getting help can increase your safety. Even though sometimes people blame victims or don’t believe them, you will be much safer if you get help, and you can start by talking to your parents/guardians.
Call the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline at 1.866.331.8453.
Teen advocates are available 24 hours/day.
Victims, as well as friends and family members of victims,
can call SWiC’s 24-hour hotline, 570.622.6220 or 1.800.282.0634.
They may be:
Visit A THIN LINE, MTV's Digital Dating Abuse Campaign for more resources regarding sexting, cyberbulling, and digital dating abuse.